Leo Strauss: Teacher and Philosopher

  • Shadia B. Drury


It is no exaggeration to say that the impact of Leo Strauss on the academic community in North America is a phenomenon. He is the founder of a movement, a school of thought and even a cult.1 Leo Strauss wrote some 15 books and 80 articles.2 However, his notoriety is due not so much to the evident superiority of his work,3 but to the fervent devotion of his unusually arduous and zealous followers. Universities in Canada and the United States now abound with these disputatious, dogmatic and vehemently defensive disciples known as Straussians. They occupy high positions in almost all the universities in North America,4 and have, without a shadow of a doubt, become a ‘force’ to be reckoned with.5


Political Philosophy Political Thought Great Book Good Regime Political Idea 
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  1. 1.
    Lewis A. Coser, Refugee Scholars in America: Their Impact and Their Experiences (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1984). Coser refers to Strauss as the only refugee scholar who managed to attract a ‘brilliant galaxy of disciples who created an academic cult around his teaching’ (p. 4).Google Scholar
  2. 5.
    Werner J. Dannhauser, ‘Leo Strauss: Becoming Naïve Again’, American Scholar vol. 44 (1974–5) pp. 636–42, esp. p. 637.Google Scholar
  3. 28.
    Eugene F. Miller, ‘Leo Strauss: The Recovery of Political Philosophy’, in Anthony de Crespigny and Kenneth Minogue (eds), Contemporary Political Philosophers (New York and London: Dodd-Mead and Methuen, 1975) p. 68.Google Scholar
  4. 29.
    Yolton, ‘Locke on the Law of Nature’; Dante Germino, ’Second Thoughts on Leo Strauss’s Machiavelli’, Journal of Politics, vol. 28 (1966) pp. 794–817CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Harvey C. Mansfield, Jr, ‘Strauss’s Machiavelli’, Political Theory, vol. 3, no. 4 (November 1975) pp. 372–83Google Scholar
  6. J. G. A. Pocock, ‘Prophet and Inquisitor’, Political Theory, vol. 3, no. 4 (November 1975) pp. 385–401Google Scholar
  7. Edward Andrew, ‘Descent to the Cave’, Review of Politics vol. 45, no. 4 (October 1983) pp. 510–35; Burnyeat, ’Sphinx Without a Secret’, takes Strauss’s interpretation of Plato and Aristotle to task; George H. Sabine, review of Strauss’s PAW in Ethics vol. 63 (1952–3) pp. 220–2.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 47.
    James Steintrager, ‘Political Philosophy, Political Theology, and Morality’, Thomist, vol. 32 (July 1968) p. 309.Google Scholar
  9. 50.
    Nathan Tarcov, ‘Philosophy & History: Tradition and Interpretation in the Work of Leo Strauss’, Polity, vol. 16, no. 1 (1983) p. 10CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. see also Warren Harbison, ‘Irony and Deception’, Independent Journal of Philosophy, vol. 2 (1978) pp. 89–94Google Scholar
  11. 71.
    Stanley Rothman, ‘The Revival of Classical Political Philosophy: A Critique’, American Political Science Review vol. 56, no. 2 (June 1962) pp. 341–59, with a reply by Joseph Cropsey.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Shadia B. Drury 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • Shadia B. Drury
    • 1
  1. 1.University of CalgaryAlbertaCanada

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